Today marks my first day back in the office after a week unplugged (no computer use, email, TV/movies and only minimal phone use). I spent the last five days working in my garden, writing, swimming, doing creative visioning for my business, walking barefoot outdoors, visiting spring-fed rivers with friends and tending to my soul.
Over the past few weeks, I was noticing how busy my mind had become and how often I was “hopping on my laptop for just five minutes.” I was feeling grumpy and irritable towards my family and team and I had lost all my passion and creative zeal. One day, I almost threw my laptop against the wall; clearly, I was done!
I’ve taken (and written about) many digital detoxes over the years. Sometimes they were just a day, sometimes a whole summer in order to finish a book. But this time was different. The sense of urgency that preceded this “off the grid” period, was palpable. My mind didn’t just need to re-boot–my body and soul did too. I think this is reflective of the times we’re living in–things are simply moving too fast and we weren’t designed to operate at this pace or be constantly tethered to digital devices.
After the first 48 hours of being off my laptop and email (my nemesis), I noticed:
~ I was more playful, spontaneous and relaxed (according to my son) and my husband said I was more “sexy and fun to be around!”
~ how quickly I renew when I spend time in the natural world (I have fire ant bites on my feet and my skin is glowing from all the time I spent outdoors);
~ I was more attuned, present and plugged into life: everything looked more vibrant and colorful, all my senses were awake (I also cooked some amazing meals using local veggies/fruit).
Additionally, I slept better, I found it easier to care for and listen to my body, and I was reminded of all the things that bring me pleasure: dancing, swimming, eating ripe berries, listening to music, reading great books and long, lingering dates with soulful friends and loved ones. This short digital detox showed me I have to create a more sustainable pace (something I speak about often).
I am at a life stage where I need expanses of unscheduled time to dream, process, enjoy “free range thinking,” integrate and explore what’s next for me. And this is very difficult to do when you’ve got 400 emails a day calling for your attention.
As a mindfulness evangelist, “light tech” user and late adopter of all things electronic by choice, I’ve got some new ideas for how I want to shift my relationship to technology this fall. But more than anything I want to lock in the memory of how radically different I felt during the past five days. It wasn’t just about a mental respite–this time helped me remember who I really am.
READY TO SCHEDULE AN UNPLUGGED DAY? Here are three opportunities:
- Attend one of my self-renewal retreats and receive high-level support, mentoring and unplugged time to just “be.”
- Check out my online life balance audio classes, available 24/7 & ready to enjoy from the comfort of your home, office, jogging trail or car.
- Explore the idea of facilitating or joining our Personal Renewal Groups for women (in 10 countries worldwide); becoming a RTA-Certified Facilitator can be a great way to transition to a new career field and learn the art of self-care.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness speaker/author and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining Personal Renewal Groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 15 year-old son. More on her background here.